Kenya will have a data commissioner pretty soon, according to the Cabinet Secretary for ICT.
“Data protection law is already in place. We shall be employing a commissioner in two weeks time,” CS Joseph Mucheru said. “Our goal is to protect people’s privacy.”
The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner was established under section 5 of the Data Protection Act 2019, which was made law in November last year. The Public Service Commission sent a notice of the declaration of the Data Commissioner a few months back where the deadline was 14th April 2020.
The Data Service Commissioner needed to have certain qualifications. They need to have held a degree in Data Science/Law/IT or any related field, a Masters Degree, have knowledge and relevant experience of not less than 10 years and meet the requirements of chapter six of the constitution which is about leadership and integrity.
The Data Commissioner is an important job in the country. The person is responsible for the enforcement of the Data Protection Act. He/she will perform duties like exercising oversight on data processing operations, promoting self regulation among data controllers, conducting assessment to ascertain they are processed under the provisions of the act, carry out inspections, promoting international cooperation in matters relating to data protection, undertaking research on developments in data processing and much more.
The person that will be appointed will serve a single 6 year term and will not be eligible for a reappointment.
It will be interesting to see who will become Kenya’s first Data Commissioner. We are squarely deep into the digital age and this post will become very important for this era.